Defining Justice:
The Experience of Women and Children Behind Bars

September 20, 2017
Oklahoma City, OK

For decades, Oklahoma has led the nation in the rate at which it incarcerates women. Why?

As the state grapples with an emerging political consensus around criminal justice reform, The Atlantic sought to understand the experiences of women affected by the state’s justice system. What are the underlying reasons — legal, political, social, emotional — behind their incarceration? What are the impacts on children, families, communities and the women themselves? And what might proposed reforms mean for women in particular?

Defining Justice in Oklahoma City was developed in collaboration with Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting.

Watch full session videos

This event was the first of a three-part Defining Justice series.

To view photos from this event, please visit our Facebook page.

Presented by

Atlantic Live



  • Wednesday, September 20
  • 1:30 p.m.WelcomeMargaret Low, President, AtlanticLIVE
  • 1:35 p.m.One Woman’s Story
    Patricia Spottedcrow, Former inmate, Oklahoma Department of Corrections
    With Allison Herrera, Multimedia Reporter and Social Media Editor, Public Radio International
  • 1:50 p.m.Why Are So Many Oklahoma Women Behind Bars?Ziva Branstetter, Senior Editor, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting
    Steve Kunzweiler, District Attorney, Tulsa County
    Patricia Spottedcrow, Former inmate, Oklahoma Department of Corrections
    Kris Steele, Executive Director, The Education and Employment Ministry
    With Alison Stewart, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic
  • 2:35 p.m.The Governor’s PerspectiveGovernor Mary Fallin (R-OK)
    With Alison Stewart, The Atlantic
  • 3:00 p.m.The Business of ReformTony Tyler, Tyler Media Group; Member, Greater Oklahoma City Chamber Criminal Justice Task Force
    With David Fritze, Executive Editor, Oklahoma Watch
  • 3:30 p.m.What Happens When Mothers Go to Prison?Sheila Harbert, Chief Community Outreach Officer, Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma
    D’Marria Monday, Oklahoma Chapter Leader, National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls
    Patrice James, Attorney and Director of External Relations, Still She Rises Tulsa
    With Allison Herrera, Public Radio International
  • 4:00 p.m.Imagining a System that Serves WomenSusan Sharp, Professor Emerita, University of Oklahoma-Norman; Author, Mean Lives, Mean Laws
    Laura Pitman, Director of Population and Programs, Oklahoma Department of Corrections
    Mimi Tarrasch, Executive Senior Program Director, Women In Recovery
    Sonya Pyles, Graduate, Women In Recovery
    With Ziva Branstetter, Reveal from The Center for Investigative Reporting
  • 4:35 p.m.Closing ThoughtsMargaret Low, AtlanticLIVE


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